Removing adhesive from your car’s trim can be an arduous, frustrating experience. But with the right guidelines and products on how to remove car trim adhesive, you can save yourself a lot of hassle. I’ve made this guide to help you get rid of any leftover glue in just a few minutes!
Before we jump into how to remove car trim adhesive, let’s take a quick look at why it usually gets there in the first place.
It often happens when you re-attach a piece of trim that was removed or when you put a new piece of trim back on.
If you have the right tools, the adhesive residue can easily be rubbed off with paint thinner, but many have difficulty in removing adhesive residue.
That’s why so many people leave adhesive residue on their cars from time to time!
Once it’s stuck onto your car, you want to get rid of the glue in order to avoid bigger problems down the road.
You can use a razor blade to scrape it off, but you won’t be able to get rid of all of it – and if you do, you’ll probably mess up your paint. So, what is the best way?
Table of Contents
How To Remove Car Trim Adhesive with 4 Easy Methods
#1 Using Heat & A Plastic Spreader
- A heat gun or hairdryer
- Plastic spreader
- Plastic scraper
First, you want to heat the area of your car where the glue is with a hairdryer or heat gun. Once it’s heated up, apply some plastic spreader along the glued area.
Then, you can use a plastic scraper to remove the glue from your car’s body. Be careful not to let the knife slip. Otherwise, you might end up scratching your paint!
The heat makes it possible for the plastic spreader to spread over and around the glued area and stick to it tightly.
This is the best method as it doesn’t scratch the car paint, and you can remove the adhesive easily in no time. However, you should be careful with the heat applied. Overheating will harm the car paint.
Tip: The heat gun must be in movement all the time. So, move it slowly and evenly.
#2 Using An Eraser Wheel to Remove Adhesives
- An eraser wheel
- A drill
If you have an eraser wheel, you can use it to remove glue from your car. The main advantage of using it is that you don’t need to heat up the area to be treated, but you will need a drill with this.
Just attach the eraser wheel with the drill, and your tool is ready to go.
Apply the slow speed to get better control of your work. 2 things will happen if you use a high speed right away:
- Hard to control (the wheel will be jumping on the car)
- Paint chipping
- This process will generate heat so make sure you keep an eye on this. Pause if you feel the temperature may damage the paint.
- The eraser wheel is effective on car paint only, don’t apply it on plastic or other materials. If you aren’t sure, test it before using it.
#3 Using Thinners and A Scraper or Rag
- Clean rags
The most common method is using thinners and a rag to remove the adhesive. You just have to gently rub on the glue until it’s gone and then wipe off the residue with a clean rag.
This is a good way to get rid of most of it, but not all. This method requires some time and effort from you. It doesn’t damage your car, but it’s not very effective either.
#4 Using A Degreaser
- Clean towels
- Car soap
A degreaser is the most effective method out there if you use it correctly. You should not overdo it and wait too long, as you might damage the paint. Use a degreaser that has a good polish to remove residue from your car in no time.
For best results, use a clean towel and gently rub the area where the glue is, wiping off as much residue as possible. Then, wash it with soap and water and dry it with a paper towel.
How to Remove Weather Stripping Adhesive
You can use the same methods to remove adhesive from weatherstripping as you would use for regular car trim. The only difference is that with weather stripping, you can also use alcohol and lacquer thinner.
Many people try cutting the adhesive off with an X-Acto knife or razor blade. Then they soak it in acetone or alcohol to make the adhesive rub off more easily.
Find out: How to make your car shine like glass!
The thing is, it’s pretty hard to get an exact cut with a blade, so if you mess up, you might cut through the weather stripping or even your car’s paint.
So instead of using blades and fluids, you can:
Heat up the weather stripping using a heat gun or hairdryer. Then apply some plastic spreaders over the area. Use a plastic scraper to remove the adhesive.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 What Is the Best Adhesive Remover?
My favorite adhesive remover is the 3M Adhesion Removal System. It’s simple to use and it really does the trick, even on stuck-on adhesive residue.
It doesn’t smell bad like paint thinner and leaves no residue, so you can use it to remove adhesive from your car without damaging the paint.
#2 Can You Use Adhesive Remover on Car Paint?
The short answer is: Yes, you can use adhesive remover on car paint. But you should use it with caution!
Don’t just pour a lot of remover onto the spot and then try to wipe it off quickly. You want to spread it over the area before you start removing it with a sponge or rag. If you do this correctly, you won’t damage your car’s color.
#3 Does Wd-40 Remove Adhesive in an Auto?
Yes, it does! Wd-40 removes adhesive from your car quickly and easily. But that’s the problem. It leaves behind a greasy residue!
Therefore, you should avoid WD-40 whenever possible. Use other products like 3M Adhesion Removal System or Goo Gone – they have natural ingredients and won’t leave behind a greasy film.
#4 How Do You Remove Dried Adhesive?
You need to use a solvent to remove the dried adhesive in an automotive. If you don’t know which one to choose, you can try 3M Adhesion Remover Fluid.
It works on paint, rubber, and plastic, and it isn’t harmful to the environment. It’s the safest option out there.
Removing trim adhesive can be a real pain. But with these four methods, I hope you’ll find it easier to take off the glue whenever it appears on your vehicle.
Remember, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Hi everyone, My name is Ollie Barker.
As a seasoned auto expert I have 25 years of experience working in repair and detailing shops. I love to share my tips & tricks to all car lovers, so that’s why I’m here at Automotive Gearz publishing my content, sharing my passion. Also, I’ve been giving my recommendations on which products are the best to have on the market. I always thought it was hard to pick the right part, so hopefully I can make that a bit easier for you.
Hope you enjoy your time on my little blog!